The city of Brandon and other communities in Manitoba's southwest are in a race against time to shore up protective dikes in anticipation of a surge of water expected in the next few days, local officials say.

On Saturday, Brandon put out a call for volunteers to help with sandbagging activities.

People learned Friday that more water than originally estimated would be heading down  the Assiniboine River from Saskatchewan.

"Because of the sudden rise today and the uncertainty with the eventual level, the city of Brandon is advising people who were previously contacted by the Brandon Police Service regarding flooding should activate their secondary emergency plans," Brian Kayes, the city's director of emergency management said in a news release late Friday.

People were told to be ready to move on a moment's notice.

"Make sure the car is full of gas, make sure the medication is in the suitcase with a change of clothes," Sheri Decter-Hirst, the mayor of Brandon, said.

"Call the family or friend where ever you are staying to let them know that you could wind up on their doorstep."

In one part of Brandon, residents have been up since 3 a.m. CT helping one property owner build up a sandbag dike.


Community volunteers in Brandon, Man., help shore up a sand bag dike on David Barnes property. (Sheila North-Wilson/CBC)

Dave Barnes lives close enough to the river that water is dangerously lapping onto his yard. His garage has already been inundated.

Loudspeakers have been set up, playing upbeat music to keep the volunteers energized.

"The mood is surprisingly upbeat," CBC News reporter Sheila North-Wilson, said Saturday. "People are working really hard. Working on adrenaline."

People in communities along the Assiniboine River have sprung into action to build up existing dikes.

Further along the river, volunteers were pressed into service in the rural municipalities of Cartier and St. Francois-Xavier where homeowners are also working feverishly to protect against higher than expected water volumes.

Some dikes must be raised by 60 centimetres.

About 40 homes are affected in Cartier. Local officials told CBC News Saturday that volunteers are growing weary and more help would be appreciated.